Trip Report: Greenland, June 21 - July 28, 1997
Antti Below, Finland;
Here is a short report about the trip I made to NE-Greenland in summer
1997. The exact place was Traill Island (72°30'N). Our international
persons) made actually different kinds of studies on mammals, and the
were made mainly by us Finns (undersigned and Mr. Paavo Hellstedt).
The trip took place from 21st of June to 28th of July. The area where we
made these observations covered about 100 square kms.
Weather: Nights -4°C to +4°C, days +3°C to +12°C. Rain occurred during 12
days. The fjord (except the estuaries) was almost totally frozen the whole
- RED-THROATED DIVER (Gavia stellata) 4 nests, which all were depredated by
- "BIG" DIVER (Gavia adamsii/immer) One individual in Karupelv estuary in
the beginning of July.
- COMMON EIDER (Somateria mollissima) Scarce breeder, about 20 individuals
- KING EIDER (Somateria spectabilis) Scarce breeder, 4 females were seen.
- LONG-TAILED DUCK (Clangula hyemalis) 5-10 pairs.
- BARNACLE GOOSE (Branta leucopsis) 45 pairs on cliffs near our camp. In
mid July I counted along the Karupelv river about 350 individuals, mostly
moulting birds, but also about 40 young birds.
- PINK-FOOTED GOOSE (Anser brachyrhynchos) In the end of June some
migration by non-breeding birds arriving to moulting areas. For example
one day we saw 250 migrating P-f Geese. Breeding birds from the middle of
island arrived with their chicks to the seashore in the middle of July.
- GYRFALCON (Falco rusticolus) No observations because of lack of lemmings.
- PTARMIGAN (Lagopus mutus) Common breeder.
- RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) Common breeder.
- SANDERLING (Calidris alba) Common breeder. One bird with an Islandic
- DUNLIN (Calidris alpina) Common breeder.
- KNOT (Calidris canutus) Quite common breeder.
- TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) Common breeder.
- LONG-TAILED SKUA (Stercorarius longicaudus) Only 6 pairs laid eggs which
also hatched. Nestlings died soon of starvation because of lack of
lemmings. There were also birds hanging around without breeding, the
biggest flock consisted of 80 birds (couple of years ago a flock of 350
birds was observed in the same area!)
- PARASITIC SKUA (Stercorarius parasiticus) Two pairs, of which only one
bred. The nestling died of starvation soon.
- GLAUCOUS GULL (Larus hyperboreus) About 15 pairs. Also a flock of 60
non-breeding birds were seen.
- GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larus marinus) One adult seen only.
- LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larus fuscus) One individual passing the camp.
Few years ago I would have identified this bird as race graellsii, but who
knows nowadays about these gulls. It might have been heuglini or some
other "darker-backed gull".
- SABINE'S GULL (Larus/Xema sabini) 3-4 pairs on one island. The breeding
began very late, in mid-July.
- ARCTIC TERN (Sterna paradisaea) About 60-80 pairs on two islands. Also a
very late breeder.
- SNOWY OWL (Nyctea scandiaca) No observations because of lack of lemmings.
- HOUSE MARTIN (Delichon urbica) 3rd of July one individual was flying
above the Karupelv River and trying to catch insects. According to the bird
list we had, this was the fourth observation of this species in
Greenland. The last one was in 1989 and the other two in the beginning of this
- WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe) Quite common breeder.
- RAVEN (Corvus corax) One pair bred successfully.
- SNOW BUNTING (Plectrophenax nivalis) Very common breeder.
- LAPLAND LONGSPUR (Calcarius lapponicus) One male in June. Breeding area
is a little bit southwards from Traill Island.
One WOLF, three POLAR BEARS, about 30-40 MUSKOXES, three dens of ARCTIC
FOXES, and some ARCTIC HARES and COLLARED LEMMINGS. Also three species of
The Wolf (white one) was the second observation of this species in the
area since it disappeared in
the beginning of this century.
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September 16, 1997